In B2B markets, the Internet has changed the way we do business significantly. Not only is the amount of information about products and services offered almost infinite but also it is slowly and steadily changing the way we all make our purchasing decisions. Who does not first quickly look up a company, product or service before making a purchasing decision or prior to meeting a representative of that company?
The image we’re developing of companies is today largely influenced by what we see and experience of them online. We go to their homepages to find the nearest outlet or subsidiary, look up product features, find out who our best contact person is, who the CEO is, and if we’re actually their target client, and in general, how do they differ from their competitors?
We click our way through the company’s website following our interest, instincts, and curiosity. We pause to download documents, enlarge pictures, watch corporate videos and sometimes even take the time to read what has actually been written there.
We are leaving our silent footprints all over the homepages of these companies. What a wealth of information for marketers! If only they could see, hear, and understand what we’re doing. In the old days of marketing we used to shout at our clients. In typical Outbound Marketing fashion, we’d try to make sure we’d be heard above the noise, we’d shout a lot, everywhere, and at everyone. True, we tried to do our homework and be more specific as to what to shout at, whom, and where. But now, thankfully, we don’t need to do that anymore. The innovators and visionary marketers don’t see much value anymore in trying to stand-out above the cacophony of commercials, advertising, and telemarketing surrounding us. Now, thanks to Inbound Marketing techniques, we prospects/clients are actually whispering at the companies through the internet. All that marketers needed was a hearing aid and vision correction system to see, hear and then understand our needs, interests and desires being made visible through our online activity and behaviour. People surfing a company’s homepages, are actually the ones that do care about the company and who have actively contacted it, virtually of course. Why not whisper back?
I believe intelligent collection and analysis of this digital-footprint information will allow creating customer knowledge in a revolutionary way and at a depth never seen before. No survey can yield such unbiased results on what customers are actually really interested in, what touches and moves them, and certainly not at the low costs afforded by Inbound Marketing techniques.
Next week I will look at how this new Inbound Marketing and Marketing Automation can dovetail with and help drive your strategic product development plans. (Editor’s note: You can read Christine’s article on using clients’ input to drive product development here).
Koenig & Consultants Inc. is an internationally active management consulting firm with strong focus on, and expertise in, the Life Science, Renewable Energies, and B2B sectors. We support senior management in their efforts to develop unique solutions for their clients and stakeholders through excellence in strategic planning, marketing, communication, and leadership. We provide our clients with a portfolio of state-of-the-art and highly customizable frameworks and analytical tools.
Christine König, PhD
Christine majored in biology and biochemistry and graduated from Göttingen University with a PhD in biochemistry. In her post-doctoral work she gained long-time experience in research and development. She has been awarded a number of prizes and gained high recognition for her entrepreneurial work and a patent in the biotechnology branch.
Since 2002 she has been engaged as business manager of a diagnostics company and at the same time as a marketing and innovation consultant for technology oriented companies helping to advance their innovative products and find new markets for them.